(sent October 23, 2023 – Published AV News – Nov 29, 2023)
The City of Port Alberni owns the former Somass Mill site and most of the land between Catalyst Paper and the Harbour Quay, including Dry Creek (aka Owatchet Creek). According to an author of a recent study in the journal Nature, “we’ve lost control of melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet” (â€œWeâ€™ve Lost Controlâ€ â€“ West Antarctic Ice Sheetâ€™s Unavoidable Meltdown – SciTech Daily). That ice sheet alone would account for 5 metres of sea level rise in Port Alberni.
So I must ask, what is the Cityâ€™s vision for Somass and the railway lands over the next century when they all sit barely 2 metres above sea level today? These are a filled, and paved, beach.
The citizens involved in the Restore Dry Creek group urge the City and developer to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore the creek, beach (clam beds?), and shoreline and shift everything back to the businesses on 3rd Avenue. We could create a fantastic waterfront drive like Parksville and Ladysmith with the railway and Quay to Quay path along the shore integrating natural and built protections from storms, floods, and sea rise.
This is our chance. Over the next 100 years, the restored Owatchet Bay and Creek could be the Cityâ€™s protector, or the Cityâ€™s liability. Which will the City choose?